Singularity U has been getting a lot of press recently, in part for having recruited a stunning line-up of intellectual and creative luminaries as the board of directors, faculty and lecturers of the organization. From Larry Lessig to the Dalai Lama, there are a lot of impressive names associated with the project.
Singularity U.: No Frats, Just Breakthroughs: Futurist Ray Kurzweil and X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis are setting up a new school aimed at exponential advancements: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2009/tc2009022_531934.htm
SingularityU: About: http://singularityu.org/about/overview/
At the same time, there is a certain amount of hype and aside from the amazing collective associated with the organization it isn’t clear to me if the educational process offers a novel approach. There is some skepticism balancing the excitement.
New Singularity U May Over Promise the Infinite: http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2009/02/singularity-u-launches-vanishes-after-exceeding-web-quota.ars
Congratulations, Human, You’ve Been Accepted to Singularity U: http://www.wired.com/culture/culturereviews/magazine/17-07/st_singularity
The dichotomy of the dialog around Singularity U raise questions that we need to address within our own institution. As long as I’ve been at Michigan there have been quiet conversations about whether a student will learn more and later achieve more if they are given the opportunity to associate with sterling and stimulating minds (such as those here at UM) or whether a strong, stable, supportive learning infrastructure with faculty engaged with the process of learning as their primary interest and responsibility can foster greater independence in learning and self-sufficiency (as in certain neighboring institutions). There are good arguments for both, and ideally, it seems you’d want to have both. As a graduate of a special program designed to generate future leaders of the profession (in my case, librarianship), I have to also wonder how much of later success comes from selection of a certain type of student, or simply telling folks this is what you expect of them.
So, in prowling the virtual presence of Singularity U, I found a wealth of videos in YouTube. I watched this one on the future of medicine since it sounded particularly relevant.
Singularity U: Daniel Kraft on the Future of Medicine
The beginning part of it was mostly an ad for Singularity U, but the rest of the ten minutes whipped very quickly through what Daniel Kraft thinks might be the top coming trends to watch for interesting ideas at the intersection of health and technology.
* personalized medicine
* predictive medicine
* PHR (personalized health records) and cloud-computing health records
* brain-computer interface (such as Brain Gate)
* real-time proteomics integrated with systems biology and artificial intelligence for an actionable “health stream” presented in way that will let it be used clinically
* regenerative / stem cell biology
* tissue engineering
* 3d ‘printing’ of tissue-engineered organs using inkjet printers with ink cartridges filled with different cell types (growing organs on demand outside the body)